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YEREVAN, February 19 (Itar-Tass) – One of the seven candidates for Armenian president, Andreas Gukasyan on Tuesday stopped his month-long hunger strike. His supporters removed the tent he has been staying in for this period, while Gukasyan, emaciated and stubbled, thanked the police for guarding his hunger strike hut.
“Naturally, I am returning home to undergo a rehabilitation course there,” he said.
Gukasyan,43, won 0.57 percent of the vote in the presidential polls on Monday.
Gukasyan, a political scientist and businessman, began his open-ended action on January 21. He put a tent near the building of the National Academy of Sciences, in from of the parliamentary house in downtown Yerevan. He demanded that the country’s Central Election Commission should cancel registration of the candidature of the incumbent president, Serzh Sargsyan, the shoo-in for presidency. He also wanted international observers to leave the country to cancel the elections, which he dubbed as “false.”
Several days ago, Gukasyan said he would end his hunger strike when the poll’s preliminary results were published and international observers voiced their opinion of the voting. This done, Gukasyan stopped his action on Tuesday. He said he was planning to run for a seat in Yerevan’s municipal council in the elections due on May 5.
While Gukasyan was on his hunger strike, the Armenian ministry of health was offering him to undergo a medical examination in any medical establishment he might choose, but he kept on rejecting. “The ministry of health is exerting pressure on me, saying about the necessity of these or those medical procedures,” he said.
After officials from the U.S. embassy came to see Gukasyan last week, coordinator of his election headquarters Armen Grigoryan said that Gukasyan’s action was aimed at solving Armenia’s domestic problems “and interference of any external forces represented by foreign diplomatic missions accredited in the republic is out of place.” Grigoryan then said that none of international observers who had come to Armenia to monitor the elections visited Gukasyan.
According to preliminary results made public by the Central Election Commission, incumbent President Serzh Sargsyan is winning the presidential race with 58.64 percent of votes.